Curry Queen Ishay Govender Ypma

Curry Queen Ishay Govender Ypma

Locally, many cookbooks focus on regions or cuisines specific to a section of the population. This book follows a different trajectory. It includes recipes from people from all walks of life. You will find recipes for korma, vindaloo and masala, made with seafood, lamb, beef, tripe and even goat – from fiery, strong curries to ones with subtle flavours.

As a fifth generation South African of Indian descendant, Ishay travelled for a year across the length and breadth of South Africa, meeting cooks from all over South Africa. The purpose was to plumb their store of culinary memories and expertise.

Ishay explores the fascinating story of the South African curry. Spanning almost 90 recipes and conversations with more than 60 cooks and food experts, Ishay threads together these aromatic flavours – from a classic KwaZulu-Natal crab curry, to the Cape Malay chicken and crayfish curry; from Calvinia offal, to kasi beef; from Orlando West, to Qunu. Learn to cook Karoo venison, kerkbasaar kerrie en rys and vegetarian dhals – recipes taken from respected local cooks as they share their stories and recipes. This is a true tour through South Africa’s soul.

Ex-lawyer Ishay is an award-winning travel and food blogger. In her blog, Food and the Fabulous, she writes about locals, cuisines, travel guides, topical issues and current affairs. She also writes for a variety of print and digital media, including the Sunday Times Travel UK, Mail & Guardian, Business Day, Olive Magazine and Fine Dining Lovers, to mention a few.

Coming from Durban, I love nothing better than a good fish curry and this one, Rahul’s Fried Fish Curry, is delicious, so give it a try.

Let’s Cook!

Rahul’s Fried Fish Masala

Serves 4 to 6


45ml (3 T) coconut oil

2 medium onions, finely diced

22.5ml (1ó T) hot masala

2.5ml (ó t) turmeric

2 medium tomatoes, finely chopped

375ml (1ó C) water, plus extra if needed

Pack tamarind (25g), soaked in 100 ml hot water and strained

600g firm white fish (such as yellowtail), cut into 50g portions


100ml coconut milk

5ml (1 t) black mustard seeds

6–8 fresh curry leaves

4 green chillies, finely chopped

6 dried red chillies, halved

15ml (1 T) julienned fresh ginger

2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

7.5 ml (1ó t) ground coriander

To serve:

Rice or chapatti


  1. In a heavy-based saucepan, heat 15 ml (1 T) of the coconut oil and sauté the onions. When the onions have browned, add the masala and turmeric and stir for a few seconds.
  2. Add the tomatoes. The tomatoes are ready when the oil rises to the surface after about 15 minutes.
  3. Add the water and tamarind water. Bring to the boil and then lower the heat. Add the fish and salt and cook for 10 minutes, or until the fish is cooked through.
  4. Turn the heat off and remove the saucepan from the heat. Add the coconut milk and stir gently with a wooden spoon.
  5. Heat the remaining 30 ml (2 T) coconut oil in a separate saucepan on high heat. Add the mustard seeds, curry leaves, chillies, ginger, garlic and coriander.
  6. Cook on high heat for 15–20 seconds, then pour this over the fish.